April 1, which is accompanied in the foreign media with entertaining hoaxes, corresponds with the 13th day of Nowruz [the Persian calendar year that began on March 20th, 2008] celebrations, the time for "Nowruz lies."
To commemorate this day, Farda website dedicated an entire page to April Fools' day jokes, for instance, reporting "Ahmadinejad's special request from 50 economists critical of the administration." Referencing last year's meeting of 50 protesting economists with Ahmadinejad, Farda writes as an April Fools' day hoax: "Dr. Ahmadinejad has officially invited 50 economists to assist him in reforming economic policies, which he promised to the people in his Nowruz address." Another April Fools' day joke from Farda is the "Order from the Minister of Culture to reverse the ban on publications." "In two separate orders," Farda writes," Saffar Harandi asked for the reversal of the ban on two newspapers Shargh and Ham-Mihan, and the news websites ILNA and Baztab."
Shahab News, however, chose a false report of a coup d'etat for its April Fools' day hoax. According to this website, "In the house of a prominent figure opposed to the administration, large amounts of heavy artillery, which were gathered to weaken the government of Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, were found." According to this false report from Shahab News, "In addition to the discovery of large amounts of Katyusha rockets and roadside bombs, one stealth jet fighter was found in the basement of the house with a message that read, 'A Gift from the U.S. Government to Ahmadinejad's Opponents.' A videocassette belonging to a singer from Los Angeles, one bottle of an alcoholic beverage, mixed with orange juice to fool officers, and a cell phone were also discovered in the house." Shahab News continued, "Some opponents of Ahmadinejad’s administration planned to use these weapons to instigate a 'media coup' against the ninth administration" [a joking reference to Iran’s minister of culture's accusation against critical publications].
Kambiz Ghomri also pulled a few April Fools' day hoaxes on his blog, Kasper. He wrote, "Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, after apologizing for past mistakes from the Iranian nation at a press conference, announced that he is embarrassed and remorseful of his past actions."
Kasper also reported the return of Dariush, a popular singer from Los Angeles, to Iran, noting, "After arriving in Iran, while crying of joy, he was greeted by the Minister of Culture, Saffar Harandi." This weblog had another report: "In an unprecedented and courageous move, the Islamic Republic conducted a referendum on the type of regime to govern Iran."
Another entertaining hoax, which could be interpreted as a desire to start relations with the US was this: "George Bush, America's controversial president, was at the center of yet another controversy. Yesterday, in an unprecedented event, he flew to the city of Qom and was greeted by the people of the city. After a long speech, Bush appeared at the house of ayatollah Montazeri and converted to Islam."
April Fools' day hoaxes were plentiful in Iranian websites and blogs as werll. Reacting to Hugo Chavez's multiple trips to Iran, Farda wrote, "It has been reported that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has announced that he is tired of traveling to Iran and will not travel to Iran any more."
Though April Fools' day hoaxes are used in Western societies to "surprise the audience" and "entertain people," in Iran they serve an additional purpose: "voicing the Iranians' dreams and unattainable desires."